Insurance Provider for Medicare in San Luis Obispo Summarizes The Medicare Hold-Harmless Rule and How It Protects Social Security Recipients
–Susan Polk Insurance, Inc., provider of insurance for Medicare in San Luis Obispo, has summarized the “hold harmless rule” and it’s relationship to cost of living adjustments (COLA) and Medicare Part B premium increases. “This rule protects most Social Security recipients,” said agent Susan Polk, “and we think it is important that everyone understand how they are protected.”
The Medicare hold-harmless rule and how it protects Social Security recipients
Most Social Security recipients are protected from reductions in their monthly benefits due to increases in Medicare Part B premiums. This protection is known as the “hold harmless rule.” The rule comes in to play depending on the amount of the cost of living adjustment (COLA) and the Part B premium increase.
Both Part A and Part B are part of original Medicare.
- Medicare Part A covers Medicare inpatient care, including hospital, skilled nursing facility, and, in limited circumstances, at home. Part A is generally included as a Social Security benefit and the recipient does not pay premiums, except under certain conditions.
- Medicare Part B covers services and supplies that are medically necessary to treat your health condition. This can include outpatient care, preventive services, ambulance services, and durable medical equipment. There is a premium for Part B that is deducted from monthly Social Security benefits.
For 2018, the Part B premium increased from $109 to $134 for most Social Security recipients. Considering that about 63 million Americans are receiving Social Security retirement or disability benefits and the average retiree benefits are $1,404 per month, it’s easy to see that deducting any additional amount from an already low income can have serious impact.
The hold-harmless rule ties any increase to Part B premiums to COLA. The rule ensures that Part B premiums cannot increase more that the previous year’s COLA in Social Security benefits. In other words, an increase in Part B premiums cannot reduce the amount of monthly Social Security payments.
This being said, not everyone is protected. The Polk Insurance Agency hopes to set its Medicare San Luis Obispo clients at ease by helping them understand how the hold-harmless rule protects them.
Who is and who is not protected?
The hold-harmless rule protects you if you were enrolled in Part B before 2017 and the premiums are deducted from your Social Security payment. Even though, for most, the Part B premium increased to $134 for 2018, the 2-percent COLA resulted in a small increase in benefits as well as covering the premium increase.
It does not protect those who are:
- Delaying Social Security benefits but benefiting from Part B
- The 5-percent of Social Security recipients with an annual income higher than $85,000
The 2018 Part B premium increase for those not covered by the rule is between $187.50 and $428.60. The premium increases based on income with the highest paid by those with incomes over $214,000 (or $428,000 for couples).
To learn more about Medicare coverage and Medicare insurance plans, contact Susan Polk Insurance. Medicare insurance plans must offer at least the same coverage as original Medicare. The agents at Susan Polk Insurance, Inc. are dedicated to helping people find affordable insurance that offer the best protection.
Susan Polk Insurance Agency, Inc.
1443 Marsh St.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
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